First time Chicken Coop/Tractor Builder

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Lucid, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. Lucid

    Lucid Just Hatched

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    Jul 8, 2016
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    Hi All!

    New to chickens and just ordered our first flock. While we wait for them to hatch I'm eagerly reading up and educating myself on as much as I can. I wanted to run a potential plan by you all and get some feedback.

    I have about an acre of land in MD and think a tractor coop might be best suited for our backyard. While I anticipate plenty of supervised free ranging during the week, the majority of their time will be in the coop and run. So I want to have a larger size build for them. I'd like to move the building around my yard but am thinking maybe my plans for the build will make it too large to be feasible and wanted to brainstorm on here a bit first.

    This is the outline of a coop I am thinking of copying:
    http://steamykitchen.com/20640-the-palace-chicken-coop.html

    I an thinking of modifying it to use 1/4" hardware cloth. Also only doing the roof on top of the coop with 12" overhang and not over the whole thing, this is to hopefully save some weight and give more sunlight in the run. I would use hardware cloth over top of the run instead. Probably also sub out 2x4's in the run area since it wouldn't need to support the roof as those plans have it. I realize it is going to be HEAVY. I'm just not sure if it will be too heavy since most tractors I see don't look to be as big. I put together a monster playset with clubhouse and crows nest so I'm trying to get an idea on if it might work or not with that kind of weight.

    I was thinking a 3-4 wheel system of trailer jack wheels like this one here:
    http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Jack/etrailer/MJ-1206B.html

    Or maybe something similar with better wheels. I also liked this system:


    Just don't want to end up like this one:

    But also think I would be going for a better wheel system as well as the placement on his wheels are bad and should be closer to the back IMO.

    I also have a riding mower that I could use to move it if sheer brute force alone wouldn't work.

    Concerns:
    1. It just does not work, wheels sink into yard too much to be feasible and be moved.
    2. It does work but is such a pain in the *** I just never actually move the thing and probably end up keeping it in one spot anyway.
    3. Decreased predator protection. I'm worried if I don't get it absolutely perfectly flat it might weaken the defense and allow predators to dig under the run and get the chickens. I have woods on three sides of my property and we have probably everything but bears/cougars around.
    4. Chickens absolutely destroy the yard in the few days they are at each location and I just end up keeping them one place anyway.

    I'm thinking of a tractor instead of a dug foundation so that the chickens can help with bugs and get that in their diet (but still be safe) help aerate the yard and "fertilize" it. Also the main location I'd like to keep them in is the back half of the yard but during the wet season to help with moisture avoidance it would be good to move them closer to the house where our slope does not drain to. Also if it's a more heavy winter move them closer to the house so they are easier to get to etc.

    Anyway these are just some ideas in my head. I have a few months to get ready but would rather not waste money on something that has no way of working. I look forward to constructive feedback. I am very new to all this but want to learn.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First question would be how many chickens are you going to be housing?
     
  3. Lucid

    Lucid Just Hatched

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Maryland
    Planning for 6. Thinking about 6'x12'ish footprint.
     
  4. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2016
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    Subscribing. Will add my comments and suggestions later. For now, what kind of soil do you have? Is it sandy?
     
  5. Lucid

    Lucid Just Hatched

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Maryland
    Soil seems to be all over the map, I've planted trees and leveled off different sections of the yard. Depending on where I dug some areas were silty and sandy, then the next shovel would dig up a huge section of clay. I'd say more clay areas than sand though.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    What is your climate?
    Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers.suggestions.

    I liked that eggcartn wheel system video.......
    ......but got a malicious website warning when trying to access their website for pricing, my antivirus software would not allow me to view it.
    What does that wheel system cost...do you know?

    ETA: tractors always face the robustness vs portability issues. 12 feet long is going to be tough.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  7. Lucid

    Lucid Just Hatched

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Maryland
    Thanks!

    I live in Maryland, so our winters are usually pretty tame compared to just a few hours north, but we do have them and will hit freezing for sure.

    Sorry to hear about the website warning. I think it's safe, maybe they were compromised previously. But the price is $295 plus it would be $49 shipping. A little steep for me for just one component (albeit a very important part of a tractor) which is why I thought of the trailer wheels which I could do for 1/3 of the cost. But I haven't seen that done anywhere so figured there was probably a reason for that. But yeah I really did like the system and couldn't find anything else like it out there. It seemed to be able to handle more weight and looked built to last.

    I know if we were on pavement the trailer wheels would probably work great, but with so much weight I thought it might fail and wanted to see thoughts before deciding one way or another.

    I would rather just make it stationary and reinforce the predator digging defenses than go smaller, I want them to have enough room to be comfortable. But also think everyone would benefit from being able to move around.
     
  8. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perhaps you could do both? Make the coop stationary but the run movable. Have you looked into hoop runs/coops?
     
  9. Lucid

    Lucid Just Hatched

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Maryland
    I actually hadn't thought about that. I will need to consider it, that might be the way to go. I figured it had to all be together in case the hens wanted to lay or needed a break or more shade/food/water. At least food and water I could setup in the run too but wasn't sure about the laying part and not having access to their nest box. I did look at the hoop runs but thought they might not be as structurally sound as what I would need with predator protection.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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